TOWN PLANNING COMMISSION
A PRELIMINARY REPORT
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA
HARLAND BARTHOLOMEW AND ASSOCIATES
Town Planning Consultants
St. Louis, Missouri
29th June, 1945
VANCOUVER CITY COUNCIL
Mayor, J. W. Cor next
John Bennett George Buscombe H. L. Corey W. D. Greyell
Charles Jones George C. Miller Jack Price Charles E. Thompson
City Engineer Charles E. Brakenridge, m.e.i.c.
City Comptroller Frank Jones
Corporation Counsel D. E. McTaggart, b.a., k.c.
City Clerk Ronald Thompson
City Solicitor A. E. Lord, b.a.
Medical Health Officer S. Stewart Murray'', m.d., d.p.h.
Building Inspector Andrew Haggart
VANCOUVER TOWN PLANNING COMMISSION
Charles T. Hamilton, b. a. sc, m.e.i.c, Chairman
H. V. Jackson, Vice-Chairmaii
Earl M. Bennett Frank E. Buck, b.s.a. J. C. McPherson
Joseph Briggs F. N. Hamilton W. R. Owen
J. S. Porter, m.r.a.i.c.
Alderman H. L. Corey Representing Vancouver City Council
E. A. Cleveland, ll.d., m.e.i.c Chairman, Vancouver and Districts Joint
Sewerage and Drainage Board.
Don C. Brown ...Representing Board of Park Commissioners
Elmore Meredith, b.a Representing Board of School Trustees
F. W. G. Sergant Representing Vancouver Port Authority
J. Alexander Walker, b.a.sc, c.e., m.e.i.c, Executive Engineer
F. Marjorie Ross, Secretary
TOWN PLANNING CONSULTANTS
Harland Bartholomew and Associates
Harland Bartholomew Russell H. Riley
Eldridge H. Lovelace
J. Alexander Walker, b.a.sc, c.e., m.e.i.c.
Elliot A. Schmidt, b.a.sc. John H. F. Eassie
M. ISOBEL BeVERIDGE
ZONING BY-LAW BOARD OF APPEAL
W. Dalton, Chairman R. M. Edgar John Elliott, b.c.l.s.
Albert J. Harrison, Secretary
HARLAND BARTHOLOMEW AND ASSOCIATES
City Planners — Civil Enginkeks — Landscape Architects
3 1 7 North Eleventh Street
Saint Louis i, Missouri
Town Planning Commission,
Vancouver, British Columbia.
In accordance with our agreement, we are pleased to submit the
following report upon Transit. This is one of the series of reports
that will comprise your revised Town Plan.
Transit facilities have a profound influence upon the distribution
of population and the arrangement of the city. A transit plan such
as tliat contained herein will be of great value in properly directing
the growth of the city and in providing the maximum of conveniences
and accessibility. Transit facilities are a particularly important
influence in the maintenance of high values in the central business
We wish to express our appreciation for the information
furnished and the excellent co-operation extended by tlie British
Columbia Electric Railway Company, particularly that given by
Mr. E. W. Arnott, Vice-President in charge of Transportation.
Harland Bartholomew and Assoclates.
Bv Harland Bartholomew.
Increasing Need for Transit Facilities in I^rge Cities 7
Facilities Influence Distribution of Population 8
Objectives of This Report 8
PRINCIPLES AND STANDARDS OF A MODERN TRANSIT SYSTEM 9
Type of Service 9
Area of Service 9
Alignment of Routes , 9
Speed :; 10
EXISTING TRANSIT FACILITIES 11
DUPLICATION OF TRANSIT SERVICE , 13
TRANSIT DATA ; 15
EXISTING ROUTES IN THE BUSINESS DISTRICT 17
INTERMEDIATE TRANSIT SYSTEM 19
ULTIMATE TRANSIT PLAN _ 24
PROPOSED ROUTES IN THE BUSINESS DISTRICT 27
MISCELLANEOUS RECOMMENDATIONS , 29
Major Street Improvements 29
Loading Lanes 29
Fare Collectors 30
Limited Stops : 30
INDEX OF PLATES
Plate 1. Lucatiox and Extent of Present Transit Routes 12
Plate 2. Duplication of Service 13
Plate 3. Passengers Carried and Seats Furnished 16
Plate 4. Central Business District Routes 17
Plate 5. Intermediate Transit Plan Facing page 19
Plate 6. Ultimate Transit Plan Facing page 24
Transit facilities have exerted a major influence upon the growth and devel-
opment of \'ancouN"er. Without them the city could not have grown nearly as
rapidly or as large as it now is. They will have an equal or even more important
influence upon its growth in the future.
The advent of the automobile produced a serious competitor of transit systems.
Prior to the war the transit facilities showed more loss than gain in this compe-
tition. For example, the number of passengers using the \"ancouver system had
decreased from a total of 57,429,953 in 1929 to 53,554,514 in 1939. However, they
were by no means supplanted by the automobile except in very small communities.
The recent war has assisted in revealing their great value.*
INCREASING NEED FOR TRANSIT FACILITIES IN LARGE CITIES
Even prior to the war there was a growing appreciation of the value of
transit facilities, especially in the larger cities. The large number of motor cars
so congested the streets that vehicular movement became slow and costly. The
concentration of these automobiles within and near the business districts presented
many difficult problems. There just was not enough street space to accommodate
all the cars, the ofif-street parking facilities were inadequate, and many persons
became discouraged with the time spent in searching for parking space and with
the walking required between the parking space and their destination. This was
one of the major causes for the trend toward decentralization in the central
It was also becoming apparent that it would be financially and physically
impossible to widen or improve enough streets and to provide parking facilities
within or near the central business area to accommodate all of the private motor cars
in a large urban area. Thus the most logical alternative solution was to improve
transit facilities which required far less street space in transporting large volumes
of passengers. The provision of fast, comfortable vehicles leading directly from
residential sections to places of employment, shopping and recreation is imperative.
A recent trend in certain large cities also indicates the renewed interest in
transit facilities. This is the planning of subways for transit routes in the most
congested areas. Beyond the central area a few of the key routes are often pro-
posed to be placed in subways or in ojien cuts, so that the vehicles can move
rapidly and without interference. Toronto, Detroit. Cleveland and Washington are
among the cities that have prepared plans for such improvements. The minimum
size of the city, within which such expensive improvements could be economically
justified, would vary according to many local conditions, but there is a definite trend
toward substantial even though costly improvement of transit facilities.
*Due to ivartiiiie conditions the number of passengers increased to 109,^81,216 in 1945.
FACILITIES INFLUENCE DISTRIBUTION OF POPULATION
Prior to the advent of the automobile, transit facilities were the only important
means of mass transportation in urban areas. Consequently, people lived close to
transit routes and the urban areas were compact. The automobile greatly increased
the distance that people could travel between their homes and places of employment
or other destinations, and urban residences immediately scattered over a wide area.
One of the major reasons for the compact development of cities no longer prevailed.
This change in population pattern had a profound influence upon the transit
facilities. They w'ere no longer the only source of riding and their revenue decreased.
Furthermore, the population became so widely scattered that it was not practicable
for them to extend their lines — especially street car lines — to keep pace with this
new growth. The motor bus assisted in overcoming this diflFiculty, but in many
instances the population was so thinly spread that the bus route was not economical
because of the long distance travelled to serve a small number of riders.
OBJECTR^ES OF THIS REPORT
Because of \"ancouver's present size and its anticipated future growth, sub-
stantial improvements will be necessary in the local transit facilities during the
period covered by the revised Town Plan. This plan must thus provide a general
guide for these improvements. It is primarily concerned with the location and
extent of the routes. The business district and other major objectives of traffic
must be properly served and the routes must be related to the desirable future pattern
of population. The routes should also be located upon the major street system,
since wide, direct and well paved streets are fundamental to an efficient transit
The type of transit facilities and operating details are the primary concern of
the operating company ratlier than tlie Town Plan. Many technological improve-
ments are now being made in the types of transit facilities and. therefore, it is
impossible to forecast just what type would be most efficient for each route. Tlic
major problem is that the routes be properly located and that the operating compan>-
attempt to provide the most modern, convenient and efficient type of vehicle.
PRINCIPLES AND STANJ3ARDS OF A MODERN
In designing- a comprehensive transit system for Vancouver, certain general
principles and standards should be followed insofar as local conditions permit.
These may be summarized briefly as follows:
TYPE OF SERMCE
It is anticipated that X'ancouver will become a great metropolitan centre of
population. However, because of the present and probable future low density of
population, an extensive system of subw-ay or elevated transit routes would not
prove economical. The major service must be provided by surface lines, but con-
sideration should be given to utilizing express highways or improving private
rights-of-way w-herever possible for modified forms of rapid transit to the central
area. The surface lines should be served by modern and efficient types of vehicles.
The type of vehicle or service will to a large extent depend upon the riding-
habit along each route. On very heavily travelled lines, street cars are the most
efficient type of carrier because of the many passengers they can accommodate.
On the lighter travelled routes, the motor bus is usually the most efficient and
economical. In many cities the trolley coach has given excellent service.
AREA OF SERVICE
The generally accepted maximum walking distance from the transit routes is
one-quarter mile. However, there must be enough population within this distance
of the line to pay for its operation, and in sparsely settled areas, a one-half mile
walking- distance may be justified. In the main, transit service should be limited
in residential sections to areas having, or which will ultimatel\- have, a density of
ten or more persons per acre.
The transit lines in the outer fringes of the citv will naturally converge near
the downtown business district. As the population density increases toward the
city centre, this convergence is desirable since the more frequent ser\ice \\ill
encourage short distance travelling.
ALIGNMENT OF ROUTES
The ideal transit routes should radiate from the downtown district to all
residential areas. With the exception of Kingsway, \^ancouver has now no radial
routes between the west, south and east major highways. Thus it is essential to
concentrate lines upon the north and south streets leading to the business district
and then extend them over the crosstown streets to provide direct service between
residential sections and the shopping centre. This will also provide some crosstown
service, but complete crosstown routes will probably be needed in the future. In
order to reduce turning movements within the congested area, all routes should
preferably pass through, rather than loop hack, in the central business area. With
the majority of the routes passing through the downtown district, transferring
from one route to another will be simplified.
A fast schedule is economical for both riders and operators of a transit system.
Fewer imits will efficiently serve an area if travelling on a fast rather than a slow
schedule and there is the obvious advantage of saving the time of passengers.
Faster service can result from the elimination of unnecessary turning movements
and from straight, direct routing over wide streets. An excess number of stops
for loading and discharging passengers also prevents speedy movement. The
prohibition of parking at street car and bus stops can save many minutes and help
to speed service. Tt will also assist in the prevention of downtown traffic conges-
tion and of accidents.
At busy intersections during rush hours, service is frequently speeded where
fare collectors are stationed to assist the operators in selling tickets, making change,
collecting tickets and issuing transfers.
Fifteen-minute intervals between street cars and buses on the same line are
generally regarded as the maximum desirable spacing for satisfactory services,
although twenty-minute headways during non-rush hours and on Sundays and holi-
days may suffice on some of the outlying street car lines and feeder bus lines.
Longer intervals require a knowledge of schedules, and such service is generally
acknowledged to be inadequate. Much more frequent service must be furnished on
heavily travelled lines. In many districts the provision of more frequent service
encourages additional passengers. Headways will naturall}' vary, according to the
demands of different periods of the day and the riding habits of the various districts.
EXISTING TRANSIT FACILITIES
Plate Number i shows the location and extent of tlie transit routes now serving
the City of ^'ancouver. The service consists of interurl)an lines, street cars, and
motor busses. Each of these are shown by a different indication on the plan.
The three interurban lines extend beyond tlie present corporate limits and
provide service to portions of the metropolitan area.. The majority of these rout-
ings utilize private rights-of-way, although the Burnaby Lake and the Central Park
lines also travel on city streets. The interurban lines are well located in relation
to urban de^•elopment but none of them extend to the centre of the business district
and most of the interurban passengers have to transfer to reach the central section.
Street car lines provide by far the larger proportion of the local transit service.
There are 62 miles of streets containing either single or double tracks while the
bus routes are located on only 20 miles of streets. Thus, more than 75 per cent
of local transit routes are street car operations and actually even a larger propor-
tion of the total route mileage is represented by street cars since a number of lines
travel over the same streets. For example, in 1944 the street cars operated a total
of 14,305,889 miles while motor busses travelled only 1.511,055 miles.
Most of the street car routes lead from the residential districts to the downtown
area. However, a few. such as the southerly end of the ^lain and the Nanaimo
lines, serve as feeder or shuttle services. The favourable location of the street car
routes in relation to the population, and the fact that they provide direct service to
the downtown area, are the reasons why they carry such a large proportion of the
total riders. The majority of the transit routes are located on existing or proposed
major streets, thus utilizing the wider and better improved pavement which is
particularly important because of the fogs which occur during the winter months.
Practically all of the bus routes are feeder lines providing service from the
outlying residential districts to a street car line where the passengers then transfer
to go downtow'n or to other destinations. The only exceptioii is the Cambie Street
line and even this routing lias been changed from time to time during the war
Nearly all of the street car lines extend through rather than loop in the central
business district. The only exceptions are the Kitsilano, and the Powell and Oak
Street car lines. In the central business area the street car routes utilize two north
and south and two east and west streets. Granville Street is the most heavily
travelled transit route in this area but the routing of lines over Richard Street has
tended to avoid excessive congestion on the two north and south routes. The most
heavily travelled transit route in the entire city is Alain Street immediately south
of Hastings Street, but even here congestion has not become unduly excessive.
Plate Number i also graphically shows areas within the corporate limits that
are more than a quarter of a mile from a transit route, and dots indicate the popu-
lation living in both the served and unserved areas. The greatest amount of
unserved area lies in the southeast and in the southwest portions of the city, but
in tliese areas there is a very small amount of population. Of the approxi-
mately 28,000 acres within the city only 7.025 acres are more than one-quarter of a
mile from a transit line, and of this area ahout 850 acres are occupied by parks,
cemeteries and public uses. Thus only 22 per cent of the city's total area is now
unserved and less than 20,000 persons or about 7.25 per cent of tiie 1941 population
are beyond the quarter of a mile line. This is a surprisini^ly small unserved popu-
lation in such a large area which is so thinly populated in many districts. Some of
the routes, such as Oak Street, travel a long" distance, approximately from 33rd
to 59th Avenues, while serving a very small number of persons.
While the present transit system now serves a great percentage of the total
population, extensions and improvements must be made in the future. Some of
the lines must be made more direct, feeder service should be eliminated wherever
possible, and rapid service should be gradually extended to encourage compact
development in the outlying sections.
Klv 10 ROUTES
S S(tT CABS
Plate Xnwbcr i
DUPLICATION OF TRANSIT SERVICE
Plate Xuniher J ;^ho\vs the duplication of transit service within the City of
\'ancouver. Any area that is within a quarter of a mile <if two or more transit
lines is considered to have duplicated service. However, wlien two lines operate
upon the same street, it is considered as improved rather than duplicated service.
An excessive amount of duplication is harmful to the over-all transit system in
that it increases operating- cost and tends to prevent logical expansions and
improvements. The accompanying plan shows areas, single-hatched that are within
a quarter of a mile of two transit lines, and cross-hatched that are within a quarter
of a mile of three or more transit lines.
There is very little duplication of service in the entire city. Most of it i?.
found within and near the central business district which is unavoidable and, in
r^ AREA LY)NG WITHIN * MILE OF TWO TRANSIT ROUTES
^n AREA LYING WITHIN » MILE Of THREE OR MOM y
■*^ TRANSIT ROUTES/
STREET CAR ROUTE
• INTERURBAIt ROUTE
» BUS ROUTE
Plate Xuntbcr 3
fact, is desirable, i Icrc the lines converge to enter a comparatively small area and
must 'necessarily be close together. The other main source of duplication is found
where transit lines cross each other in the outlying. sections and where the feeder
bus lines join the main transit route. This is not an especially harmful situation
although crossings should be avoided wherever possible.
The two principal areas of duplicated service in the outlying sections, other
than those above described, are between Fourth Avenue and Droadwa}-, west of
Granville Street, and between Hastings and Powell Streets in the northeastern
l)art of the city. While these two paralleling lines are too close together, their
location is the result of topography and the location of major streets. It is not
particularly serious and can be continued in the future. The plan clearly indicates
no tendency for an excessive amount of service in any one area at the ex])ense
of the entire citv.
Plate Xuniber 3 grapliically shows the comparative volume of passengers
carried and seats furnished for each line during' an average day in April. 1944.
Similar data is shown for an average day in the corresponding month in 1939.
The I 'late reveals two outstanding conditions: First, street cars ])erform a more
important function than busses — they carried about 88 per cent of all the passengers
during the average day in 1944 and 83 per cent of the passengers in 1939; second, the
Plate indicates the substantial increase in the riding" habit that has occurred between
I93() and 1944. Practically all lines now carry nearly twice as many passengers as
they did in the earlier period and only one line, the Sixteenth Avenue route,
has shown a loss rather than a large increase. This was due to the change in
routing. Where this line now serves as a feeder it formerly extended directly to
the business district.
The Hastings Street lines and their various extensions and connections which
include routes. Numbers 13. 14. 13 and 16, carried the largest number of riders —
65,206 during an average day. TIk- Fraser Street routes. Numbers 6 and 7. are
next with 40.132 passengers. Both lines travel well populated sections.
In contrast with these heavily utilized street cars is the small number of
passengers carried on the bus lines. Only one bus line, Canibie Street, carried
more than 3,000 passengers during the average day. and one line, namely. Knight
Street, carried less than i .000 passengers. The small number of passengers carried
on the Sixteenth Avenue line clearly indicates the desire of passengers to utilize
direct routes to the central area.
Although the Hastings and Fraser Streets lines carried the largest number of
passengers, they were not the most economical from the standpoint of the operat-
ing company. On these lines there were only 6.8 and 3.8 revenue passengers per
mile of operation, while on the Rob.son-Broadway, the Fairview and the Davie
Street car lines, the number of revenue passengers per mile was 10.3, ().9 and 8.6,
respectively. The Hastings and the Fraser Street lines travel long distances to
carry their passengers, while the three latter lines travel a comparatively shorter
distance and through some of the most heavily populated sections of the city.
The number of passengers carried per mile of operation is obviously the most
important means of determining or judging the economical efficiency of various
routes. This in turn determines the total cost, gross income and the amount that
would be available to improve and modernize service. They clearlv reveal that the
compact and more intensively ])opulated sections are the most economical in which
to operate transit facilities. They further indicate that if the city is to have a
satisfactory transit system in the future, every effort must be made to keep a com-
pact and economical population pattern rather than to permit it to scatter thinly
over large areas. For example, the Oak Street line has the lowest revenue passen-
gers per mile record of any street car line in the city entirely because it travels
long distances through vacant or sparsely settled areas. It would be tinancially
impractical to provide modern rapid transit service in the future for convenient
access to all if the jxipulation is widelv scattered.
Philc Xiiiiihcr J
EXISTING ROUTES IX THE BUSIXESS DISTRICT
I'latc Xuniber 4 shows the locatiun i)t the cxistiiiL;- transit Hues in tiic central
business district. In i;encral the location of the routes within this area is good.
They are near the centre oi the district and thus the riders are brought to their
desired destinations as conveniently as possible. A large number of the routes con-
tinue through rather tha-n loop in the district, which is considered good transit
routing practice. As previously indicated, it is desirable for vehicular traffic to
approach the central business district on distributor streets such as Rurrard Street
and the pro]iosed Canibie Street distributor, and for transit routes to enter the
heart of the shopping centre.
Granville Street contains the largest number of routes and operations. While
this street is not unduly congested with transit facilities, it has about reached its
normal capacity. In the future, routings should be located on parallel streets to
avoid excessive congestion and delays along this important business street. The
shape of the business district involves some left-hand turning movements even on
through routes, but these are almost impossible to avoid.
Another advantage of the present routings is that each route traverses a
sub.stantial portion of the entire district. I'assengers can conveniently reach anv
a. '^ -
TOWN PLANNING COMMISSION
19 4 4
SIHEI cut LINES
FAIEV1EW BELT LINE
DAVIE - SO'" 1- MAIN
4'- i- ALWA - GEANDWEW
E06S0N - BBOADWAY - COMMEeC'AL
E BOULEVABD-4'*'- t FEftSEE
KEECISDALE - FEASEE •. AAASINE
POST OFFICE -dA" » VICTORIA
STANLEY PARK - Sd" * VICTORIA
EICHAROS * HASTINGS - KlTSlLAKO
itO/OWKX ► ALMA - HASTINGS . HNFBEW
Ui"iDUNBAE - HASTINGS t BOUNOAEY
BOUNDAEY - 40" t SA5AAAAT
-a" . DBUAAMONO
HASTINGS • CAMBIE - MARPOLE — OAK
POST OFFICE - HASTINGS PAEK
SOUTH T« LULU ISLAND
EAST .0 NEW WESTAAINSTEE
27" b CAAA8IE ■ DUNSWUIE ►SEYMOUR
Plate Xiniihcr 4
desired downtown destination with a niininiuin amount of walking'. The larg-e
number of routes ])assin.<i' through the n<irt1iern and older ])ortion of the centre is
The most serious objection to the present transit routes within the business
district is that the interurban lines stop at the outskirts. Persons using these routes
and desiring- to reach the centre of the shopping district must transfer to another
transit line. As indicated later, the operation upon these interurban lines might be
by street cars rather than interurbans so that the\- could continue to and through
the business district. It would be neither economical nor desirable to rebuild the
terminals nearer the centre of the district.
PERSONS OF THE
Plate Number J
THE INTERMEDIATE TRANSIT SYSTEAI
riic transit system necessary to serve the future papulation of \ ancnuver will
be gradually developed over a long period. Individual changes and re-routings will
depend upon numerous factors, such as the location of new residential and indus-
trial developments anil upon the opening and improvement of maior streets. The
availability of new transit equipment will also influence tlie time within which the
first changes can be initiated. Thus, it is impossible to now determine the exact
sequence in which eacli step will be taken or the time each change will be made.
Fortunately, the timing of the changes is not as important as is the fact tliat
each change should be made, in.sofar as possible, in accordance with the plan for the
ultimate transit system. Transit routes should not be continually shifted from
street to street. Street improvement programs are difficult to plan under such
shifting and the constant changes do not encourage stabilized residential areas.
Also there will be many objections from propertv owners even though the line mav
have been established for onlv a few vears.
I'late Number 5 shows the suggested routings for an intermediate transit
system for \ ancouver that is a fundamental step toward the improvement and
develoiMuent of the ultimate .system which is shown on Plate Number 6. This plan
not (inly indicates the location and general extent of the various routes but also sug-
gests the type of service which could logicallv be provided on each line. It should
be reiterated, however, that the Town Plan is more concerned with the location and
extent of the service than it is with the tvpe of service. Improved equipment ur
other changing conditions may make it desirable to provide different tvpes of oper-
ating ecjuipment than is suggested on the plan, but there should be manv substantial
rea.sons before a change should be permitted in the location of the routes. Plate
Number 3 also shows the i()4i distribution of population and indicates the extent
to which the population would be conveniently ser\ed.
There is no exact time limit within which all the details of this plan should he
ciimpleted. Many of the present routes remain unchanged and some of the pro-
posed new routes can be established as soon as new equipment can be secured. In
other in.stances, street openings and street pavements are necessarv before the routes
can l)e operated. The plan should serve as a general guide for the transit changes
during the next five or ten years.
While some changes and minor readjustments will be necessarv between the
routings under this plan and those proposed for the ultimate system, the interme-
diate routings are very closely co-ordinated with the latter. Special care has been
taken to establish transit routes upon streets that should ultimately accommodate
such facilities. Another objective of the intermediate plan has been to provide more
direct service between the residential areas and the business district and thus elimi-
nate much transferring and delays. However, there are certain sections of the citv,
such as the southeastern and eastern portions, where the population is so scattered
and thinly spread that feeder busses are about the onl}- tyjie of service that can be
justified for many years. In oeneral, the intermediate i)Ian ])n)vides convenient
and direct service for a nnicli larger population than the present system.
A brief discussion of each route follows:
A. \'anc(iuvcr-Marpole-l-ulu Island Route. This is the same as the pre.sent
Marpole Jnterurban line. No changes are proposed although it is unfortunate that
it does not extend further into the downtown business district. The operation of
both freight and transit service over this r(.iute presents many operating problems,
but efiforts should be made in the future to provide the transit service by street cars
so that the vehicles could extend through to the business district and possibly con-
nect with the Central I'ark Interurban line serving the southeastern part of the city.
It is possible that increased freight operation may soon seriously interfere with
interurban service between the Marpole interurban district and New Westminster.
It would be entirely satisfactory to substitute motor bus service for this ])ortion of
the line, such bus line to be located upon Marine Drive.
B. This line is the same as the present Central I'ark Interurban line. As
mentioned above, it would be desirable if the service could be provided by street
cars and thus operate to and through the downto\\'n business district. Such oj^er-
ation would also eliminate the need for route Number 4 which involves street car
service upon the line as far as Cedar Cottage.
STREET CAR ROl'TI'.S
1, AND [A. This route is the same as the present lines now found on Plastings
Street, West P> roadway and Dunbar Street and no changes are proposed thereon.
In the western part of the city it would be ojx'rated as a split route with one portion
extending west of Tenth Avenue and then to P'ourth Avenue and terminating at
Blanca Street while the other portion extends south on Dunbar Street. This will
probably l)e one of the last street car lines to be abandoned.
2, 2A, .\xi) 2B. In the eastern ])ortion of the city the routes Numbers 2 and 2A
are the same as the present Kingsway-\'ictoria Drive routes. The proposed route
2 11 is also the same as the present Broadway East line. All these would join on
Kingsway and operate as at present to the downtown business district. S(Mnc of
these cars should continue through the central business district and extend westward
along the existing- street car line on Fourth Avenue. This will jjrovide a through
route, although less service will be needed along tlie Fourth Avenue line and a
luimber of cars will have to be looped in the central business district. Street car
operation will ])robably be desirable on these routes during the period covered by
3, AND 3A. In the eastern portion of the cit\' these routes are also the same as
the present Eraser Street and the present .Main Street lines exce])t that the present
shuttle service on the extreme southern part of Main Street will eventually be
replaced by a bus route. It is also recommended that these routes extend thrraigh
the business district and connect with the present street car line on Pender Street
that extends to Stanlev I'ark.
4- This is the same as the present Grandview Hue. As previoush- indicated it
would be desirable for this rotite to be supplanted by street car operation upon the
entire Central Park Interurlian line. Until such type of operation is established the
street cars on this line can loop in the central business district.
TROLLEY COACH ROUTES
5. This is the same as the present Powell Street line. Operation is proposed,
however, to be provided by trolley coach rather than by street cars. After the
trolley coach route is established, the line should eventually be extended a short
distance eastward to provide service for residences located northeast of the
6. AND 6A. These t\\o trolley coach lines will replace the present Oak and
Cambie Street lines. However, the new line on both streets should not extend as
far south as the present street car line because of the extensive vacant areas. The
line on Cambie Street should be extended southward as residential development
occurs in this area but it undoubtedly will be many years before an extension on
Oak Street beyond the Shaughnessy Heights Golf Course can be justified.
7. This proposed trolley coach operation would replace the Granville Street
street car and the feeder bus which extends southward to the end of the line. It is
not recommended, however, that trolley coach operation be established on this line
until the new Granville Street r)ridg-e is constructed. The need for this type of
ser\ice on Granville Street is an important factor that should influence the early
improvement of this bridge.
Granville Street is one of the most logical locations for a trolley coach route.
The elimination of the street car tracks would greatly improve vehicular movement
and would materially reduce hazards to the transit riders by permitting curb loading.
The proposed type of operation would also permit the route to be extended south-
ward so that direct service to the downtown area could be made available to a
rapidly developing residential district.
8. This route will serve the heavily populated area west of the central business
district. The location of the route is the same as the present Davie-Robson street
car line. \\'hile this route may eventually be connected w-ith some of the other
trolley coach lines, it will probably have to loop in the central business district for
a number of years.
MOTOR BUS ROUTES
<>. This route is, in general, a combination of the i)resent ]\Lackenzie-
Macdonald bus line and the Kitsilano car line. Some connections and extensions
are necessary to make this a direct route to the downtown business district. The
prDvision of this direct service for the well developed residential section south of
I Broadway is a \ery important improvement in the intermediate transit system.
The line is shown on the accompanying ])lan as a motor bus route and there
are several important reasons why this type of operation should eventually be made
available on the major portion of this route. However, this is also a logical
location for one of the first trolley coach operations and it is realized that such
operation should not be established on the present Granville Street bridge. It is,
therefore, recommended that this line be first operated as a trolley coach line to
extend over the Burrard Street bridge and then on to Howe Street in the downtown
area. However, this operation should be permitted only until the new Granville
Street bridge is completed. Thereafter, the trolle}' lines would be removed from
the Burrard Street bridge and all future trolley coach operation would be over the
Granville Street bridge. It is further recommended that ultimately only motor bus
operation should be permitted over the Burrard Street bridge.
After the trolley coach operation has been shifted from the Burrard Street to
the Granville Street bridge, trolley coaches could still be operated on the southern
half of this route by extending the route out Granville Street to Sixteenth Avenue
and then over Sixteenth Avenue to Macdonald and Mackenzie Streets. The addi-
tional service provided by such a route would be desirable.
10. AND loA. This is a new motor bus route and will provide direct service
from the downtown area to the central eastern part of the city. From the downtown
business district it would extend over the Georgia Street Viaduct to Main Street
and then along Terminal and First Avenues. It will replace the present Burnab\-
Lake Interurban line. New street openings and paving will be necessary before the
line can be extended beyond Nanaimo Street. However, such improvements are
also necessary for vehicular traffic.
It will be noted that, in addition to extending the route eastwardly. it can also
extend north and south along Rupert Street and thus provide direct service for
this outlying portion of the city. However, the areas along the southern portion of
Rupert Street are so thinly populated that it will be several years before any service
other than feeder bus can be justified therein.
11. This is a feeder bus line that is similar to the present line serving the
University area. The loop and route near the University should be extended as
new development occurs.
12. This is also a feeder bus line and the route is quite similar to the present
service to the Spanish Banks area. It should be relocated upon the new major street
alignment when this improvement is completed. The major service on this line is
required during the summer months when persons desire to reach the park and
recreational areas along the south side of English Bay.
13. This feeder bus line will provide some cross-town service and will also
replace the present street car shuttle service on the extreme southern portion of
Main Street. The installation of this line on Main Street should probably be delayed
until additional paving is provided. Until new paving is provided which will permit
the proposed bus service on Knight Street to be extended south of 41st Avenue,
it will be possible to give some transit service in this general area by extending this
proposed bus route to about Gordon Park or possibly to Victoria Drive.
14. This is a short feeder line operated between the proposed Granville Street
trollev coach route and the southern end of the proposed Cambie Street route.
It thus affords riders the choice of two routes in reaching the business district.
Its location on Oak Street will replace the present street car service and its loca-
tion on 49th Avenue and Cambie Street will provide service in an area that is now
15. This is a new bus route that should supplant a portion of the present
street c;u" line on Broadwav. Tliis entire area is or will he within a reasonahle
walking distance of routes extending directly to the Inisiness district and there is
no necessity of having a transit route on this street that travels in a loop to reach
the central shopping centre. However, crosstown ser\icc should he estahlished on
Broadwav and this line extending between Granville Street and Kingsway will be
the first portion of the crosstown route.
Some consideration has been given to the establishment of a crosstown route
on Twelfth Avenue. This is not a desirable location for a transit line. There has
alwavs been a transit route on Broadway and transit service .should be continued on
this .street especially because of its desirable location. Twelfth Avenue is entirely
too close to Broadway for an additional transit line and would provide unneces-
]('). This is another feeder line, a portion of w'hich is similar to the present
feeder route on Knight Street. It should be operated as a motor bus line, but
instead of terminating at Kingsway it should be extended north and east so as to
intersect w ith the Central Park Interurban and the Grandview street car line. As
previously discussed, it should also be extended south of 41st .\venue to about 57th
Avenue whenever street improvement permits.
17. This is also a feeder bus line that will supplant the present shuttle street
car service on East Broadwav and XanaiuKi Street. Tt should, however, be extended
north of Hastings Street to intersect the I'owell Street line which w-ill give improved
service to the waterfront and harbour area.
18. A cross-town route in the more outl}-ing portions soon will be needed in
\ ancouver. It is recommended that the major portion of this route be located on
41st Avenue. It should extend from Dunbar Street on the west, eastward to Victoria
l^rive and then by certain existing streets should be extended to Renfrew Street
and then northward to the Powell Street line near the Exhibition Grounds. Major
street imjjrovements will eventually afford an improved location for this route
between Renfrew Street and 41st Avenue, but in the meantime minor streets can be
utilized. This route should provide excellent service in permitting persons to travel
from one section to another without being forced to go long distances before they
can make a transfer to a line serving their destination. It should also be especially
helpful in carrying persons between their homes and places of employment.
The first portion of the 41st Avenue crosstown route could be immediately
established between Dunbar Street and the Marpole Interurban as a shuttle bus
line. This would permit the single-track street car line to be abandoned west of
the interurban line. Because of the inadecjuate street improvement along 41st
-Xvenue and the sparsely settled areas adjoining this route, the additional portions
may not be needed for several years. In the meantime it will undoubtedly be
desirable to establish a crosstown line on King Edward .Kvenue, between .\rbutus
Street and Kingsway. Any permission to establish .such a route on King Edward
,\ venue should be granted, however, with the imderstanding th.at it would be trans-
ferred to 41st Avenue just as soon as street improvements ])ermit and urban
developments warrant. Eurthcrmore, it should be understood that a crosstown
route would not thereafter be continued on King Edward Avenue. The crosstown
routes on P.roadway and 4rst .Avenue would he entirely adequate to serve the future
ULTIMATE TRANSIT SYSTEM
The proposed transit svsteni which can ultimately serve the City of \ancouver
is shown on I'late Number 6. This is a lony range plan and must be developed
gradually during the next twenty-five years. It has been carefully co-ordinated
with the intermediate plan discussed in the preceding section and the ultimate plan
is primarily an extension of the routing that should be developed in the interme-
The plan also shows the desirable distribution of the future population. Any
area that is more than one-quarter of a mile from a future transit route is shown
!)}• a hatched indication. There is only a small amount of unserved area and prac-
tically all of the future population will be within reasonable walking distance of a
No recommendations are made regarding the type of service that should be
provided i>n these routes. It is impossible to forecast at this time just what type
of operation would proAC most desirable in the next fifteen or twenty-five years.
The location of the routes rather than tl e operating details is the important factor.
It is expected that street car operation \\ ill continue for many years on the more
hea\il\- travelled routes but there is little or no possibility of building new tracks to
provide street car service in outlying sections. Trolley coaches, motor busses or
similar operating facilities will undoubtedly provide transit service for the new and
The major differentiations between the routes shown on the plan are ( i ) the
indication of routes that extend directly from the residential sections to the business
district; (2) the locations of express bus routes on the proposed Express Highway,
and (3) feeder and crosstown busses. One of the main objectives of the ultimate
system is the provision of direct service from the residential areas to the downtown
shopping centre in all sections of the citw This is one of the greatest conveniences
that can be provided for the riding public and should encourage much additional
riding on the transit system.
The proposals of the plan are generally self-explanatory and no detailed
explanations of each route is necessary. The following is a brief discussion of the
major differences between the ultimate and the intermediate system.
1. It is recommended that much of the transit service in the northwestern
part of the city be provided by motor bus and that these enter the business district
over the Burrard Street bridge. This will also permit the convenient extension of
these lines into the University Lands so as to provide direct service between this
potential residential de\elopment and the downtown district.
2. A number of routes will enter the central business district via the new
Granville Street bridge. This is one of the most logical approaches to the central
area. However, the Cambie Street bridge should also be utilized for transit routes.
In connection with the transit service in the area immediately south of the
business district reference should be made to the fact that increased freight nper-
VAN C OUVE R
TRANSIT ROUTES ENTERING CENTRAL
EXPRESS BUS LINES. ;.
EXPRESS BUS LINES GIVING LOCAL
FEEDER OR CROSS-TOWN BUS LINE
AREA A^ORE THAN /♦ AAILE FROAA a\
HARUAND 6 A RT H O LO M t V\r
_ 1 REPRESENTS 50
D i PERSONS OF- THE.
Plate Number 6
ation may ultimately force the cessation of interurban or street car service on tlie
Marpole Interurban line. If such service is abandoned, equally convenient service
can be pro^•ided by establishing a motor bus route on Arbutus Street and extending
this over the proposed connection to lUn^rard Street bridge and then over this bridge
to the central business district.
3. One of the most imp()rtant features of the ultimate plan is the provision
for express busses on the Express Highway from Georgia Street in the business
district south-easterly through the city and on to Xew Westminster. These busses
could operate on the Express Highway up to such streets as Nanaimo, Rupert and
Boundary, and then leave the Express Highway and travel over these major
thoroughfares to unload and to pick up passengers. Thus, local service would be
combined with express service and tlic riders would lie able to rt-ach the central
area (juickly and conveniently.
Much study is being given in other cities to the possibility of using these
express routes for local transit and the City of \'ancouver should take full
advantage of this outstanding possibility. About the only cliange that would be
needed in express highway development would be the provision of an extra lane
at the major street intersections which would certainly involve a minimum expendi-
ture. There is no other opportunity for providing such excellent service for so
little additional cost.
\\'hile the Central Park interurban line is shown on the ultimate transit system,
this would probably be abandoned after the express bus service has been put into
full operation. The Central Park line is t(5o close to the future Express Highway
to warrant this duplicate service. The Central Park line can, however, furnisli
valuable service during the period within which the Express Highway is being
POSSIBILITIES OF RAPID TRANSIT
Reference has been made to tlie present trend in large cities to provide for
rapid transit service. Several cities in both Canada and United States, including
Toronto, Detroit, Cleveland and Washington, which do not now have rapid transit
.systems, are preparing comprehensive plans for the improvement of such facilities.
Although \'ancouver could not now justify the expenditure for a rapid transit
system, it is recommended that the matter be constantly considered by the transit
company and by local officials and citizens so that the city may be able to provide
such service if it becomes absolutely imperative. The following comments indicate
some of the possibilities for a rapid transit service.
The proposed service along the Express Highway serving the southeastern
portion of the city A\ould constitute transit service that can and should be made
available. This will provide convenient rapid service for a substantial portion of
the city area. The service could be even further increased by extending the pro-
posed feeder and local service routes in the eastern portion of the city.
Another possibility for rapid transit is the improvement of the present Marpole
line. This would involve substantial track changes, such as the provision of
additional tracks for the transit service and the lowering of these tracks so as to
eliminate grade crossings with major streets. As previously indicated, the rail-
road operation on this route presents many difficulties, but the potentiaHties of the
private right-of-way should not be overlooked. Feeder busses could be provided
to carry passengers from the residential districts to this route.
To provide complete rapid transit service for the Marpole line, it would be
essential to construct a subway under Granville Street, probably with a terminus
and loop near the present Canadian Pacific Raihvay station. This would be a costly
project, but it would bring a large number of persons to the centre of the down-
town district with a minimum of interference and delays.
The above routings are mentioned merely to show the future possibilities. They
certainly could not be economically justified in the near future under the present
trends of development.
PROPOSED ROUTES IN THE BUSINESS DISTRICT
As indicated in connection with Plate Number 4. the present routes within
the central business district are generally satisfactory. The advantages now
obtained from this routing should continue in the future, namely, (a) the routes
should be as near the centre of the area as possible, and (b) they should extend
through the district or at least to the centre of the district (approximately to Pender
and Granville Streets). This would insure that passengers can conveniently reach
the older jwrtion of the district which will assist in checking any trends of decen-
tralizatii)n. Another objective of transit routings in the central area is that both
the 15urrard and Cambie distributor streets can be kept free of public transit routes
and made available for vehicular movement.
The establishment of through routes in the central business district will recjuire
from time to time, certain adjustments between the two ends of the routes that form
the through line. One of the practical reciuirements of through routing is that the
volume of traffic and riding habits be similar on each end of the line. Since these
factors change as new development occurs and the lines are extended, adjustments
are frequently necessary. It is especially difficult to determine what the riding
characteristics will be of new lines, such as the proposed trolley coaches, and new
routes are frequently looped in the Inisiness district when first established. Thus no
detailed recommendations are made in this report as to the exact routings and
connections for all lines in the business centre. Recommendations are made, how-
ever, regarding the streets that should be used and the main jirinciples that should
In the gradual development of the transit system it will undoubtedly prove
essential that certain streets be used temporarily for transit facilities but which
eventually can be freed of such transit operation. This would be particularly neces-
sarv because of probable use of both street car and trolley coach operation. \"an-
couver's downtown streets are comparatively narrow and there would be many
disadvantages if both a centre loading and a curb loading vehicle operated on the
same street. Even the loading of one on the near side and the other on the far side
of the intersection would still result in restricted movement of automobiles because
of narrow pavements. Thus, for example, while Richards Street should eventually
be utilized for the routing of trolley coaches, the street car operations may con-
tinue for manv years and in order to avoid excessive congestion on both Granville
and Richards Streets, the first trolley coach routes should operate on Seymour Street,
but eventuallv can be located on Richards Street. Of course. Phiwe Street — and
eventually also Hornby Street — will be the trolley coach routes im streets west of
In general, the following objectives should be adhered to in the transit routing
in the central business district under both the Intermediate and Ultimate Plans.
I. Granville and Hastings Streets should carry as many street car lines as
will not undulv congest these important business streets. Street cars invarialily
c;irr\- the largest number of riders and they should be brought to the centre of
the district. l'\u-therniore, these streets have long been used for this purpose and
should continue as long as street cars operate in the city.
2. Richards Street should continue to have street car operation to avoid con-
gestion on Granville Street, but eventually, it should be used almost completely for
trolley coach routings. If trolley coaches should entirely supplant the street car
operation they should be located on Granville Street as well as upon tlie other
3. The trolley coaches that first enter over the Burrard Street Bridge should
utilize Burrard Street only as far as Davie Street and then should travel northward
to and into the business district on Howe Street. These coaches might be connected
with those on the Powell Street line but if they are looped they should travel on
Howe to Dunsmuir to Seymour Streets and then on .Seymour Street to some street
south of Georgia Street which they can use to reach Howe Street. \\'henever street
car operation is abandoned on Pender Street, any such loop should use Pender
rather than Dunsmuir Street, to reach Seymour Street, in order that the coaches
may be as near as possible to the centre of tiie district. The trolley coach line on
Davie and Robson Streets should follow the same general routing.
Whenever the trolley coach operation over Burrard Street bridge is supplanted
by motor bus route, the busses should follow the above routing in the business district.
Eventually as the business district extends westward, the location of the route
might be shifted from Howe Street to Hornln- Street so as to leave a street exclus-
ively for vehicular movement paralleling Granville Street.
4. The proposed bus line that is to enter the business district over the Georgia
Street \ iaduct should follow the same general routing as proposed in Number 3
for the trolley coaches. Even if these busses were connected with busses entering
over the Burrard Street bridge they should tra^■el northward at least as far as
Dunsmuir Street in order to provide service near the centre of the shopping district.
5. The routes in the central business district under the ultimate transit system
will be generall} similar to those discussed above. The same streets and principle
should be utilized. The only major ditterences will be the express busses which
enter the centre over the new Express Highway. These busses operate westward on
Georgia Street to either Howe or Hornby Streets and then northward to Dunsmuir
or Pender Streets and then extend southward to the Express Plighway via Seymour
Street. By the time these busses are in operation, it is quite probable that all trolkn
coach routes will have been removed frnm Seymour Street to Richards Street and
no undue congestion will result.
It has been indicated that the proposed transit routings are to be gradually
carried out during the next 20 to 25 years. The relocations and extensions must
be related to new population growth and to other physical improvements proposed
in the Town Plan. Many new streets must be opened and improved before some
of the proposed routings can be established.
.MAJOR STREET IMPROVEMENTS
The character of the street improvement, as well as its location, has a major
effect upon the officiencr\' of the transit system. The pavement must be wide and
durable. A curb and a marked line in the centre of the street is especially important
for bus and trolley car routes in X'ancouver, because of the fog during the winter
months. While the ultimate efficiency of the transit system will partlv depend upon
good street improvements, such improvements are also essential for the large num-
ber of automobiles and trucks. The major street improvements that serve both
transit facilities and private automobiles should be among the first to be initiated.
Another factor that will improve both transit and vehicular movement is the plac-
ing of stop signs where minor streets intersect the major route so that the heavier
volume of traftlc can move freely with a niininuim amount of conflict with the cross
Adequate space for loading and unloading passengers using the motor bus
and trolley coach must be provided along the curb at the regular stops. Along-
some of the transit routes in the residential portions of \'ancouver there are inade-
<iuate pavement and sidewalks. The bus either stops on the narrow pavement, or
tlie passengers step into a ditch. This is both dangerous and inconvenient to the
transit riders, as well as to the drivers of vehicles who are forced to wait because
of the narrow pavement. The widening and improving of the major streets
accommodating transit lines are essential to correct this condition.
In the downtown district adequate space must be reserved for the loading and
unloading of passengers at the corners. The few parking places that will be lost
by providing spacious zones will be more than compensated for by the convenience
to the large number of transit riders. AKso, if busses can pull close to the curb
there will be less interference with the movement of private automobiles and trucks.
Special effort must be made to keep such spaces free of any vehicular parking. As
the number of transit vehicles increase it will be desirable and essential to com-
pletely pn:)hil)it parking along the bus routes during the morning and evening rush
hours. This will expedite the movement of both transit and private vehicles.
One of the greatest delays tv transit niuvenient is encountered in the down-
town lousiness district. Here there is more vehicular congestion, and a large
nunilier of passengers load and unload at each intersection. Every effort must be
made to facilitate this loading and unloading. Expedition has frequently proved
possible by having an assistant fare collector stationed at the more important inter-
sections so that riders can load both at the front and at the rear of the vehicle.
Since the passengers desire to travel as quickly as possible to their destinations
after once boarding a vehicle, an excessive number of stops must be avoided. The
skip-stop system that was installed during the war thoroughly indicated the advan-
tages of this treatment. It sliould be continued, especially where the intersections
are close together. Walking a short distance should be preferable to a longer riding-
time between the home and destination.
It is particularly important that the most efficient and modern type of vehicle
be pro\-ided in tlie post-war period. Passengers will desire both speed and comfort.
.Much coinpetitinn can again he expected from automobiles in the post-war period,
and operating companies must be able to provide good equipment and sound routes.
There is no (juestion about the economy of using transit facilities, and it is largely
a question of convenience and comfort. While the Town Plan is not concerned
with the matter of fares or operating details it must be reiterated that a good
transit system is so important to the development and growth of the city that fare
adjustments and operating economies are preferable to an obsolete and inadequate